When I was young, I used to sit at one corner and narrate things on my mind , creating various stories. I was bed bound for a few months because of crippling rheumatism at the age of 12. The only consolation for me was books and my imagination. Sometimes, it was even impossible to hold a book as my hands were swollen , so I closed my eyes and imagined I was in different places of the world. My spirit was high and I had no doubt I would overcome that illness. True, imagination kept my spirit alive.
I was a good narrator and story teller since I was young. As a daughter of a factories’ owner, I grew up with different families living in the quarters in our yard. And there were also other children in neighborhood. Our favorite past time was telling a story about ourselves. I started a story in which all children decided to leave our families and go on a voyage. In our story, we built a huge ship where we stored all our favorite food, clothes, and toys , then we sailed towards many beautiful islands. We found out treasures, built the houses, cultivated and moved from one place to another. I sometimes made extra plot such as my friend fell in love with a mermaid. The children kept on asking me “ what will happen to me?”, and I said, “ please wait, I don’t know what will happen to you. You have to listen to my flow”. And they were never bored with my stories as they were all part of stories. Nobody complained they don’t like their part. How simple and accepting the children are! Sometimes, I made them funny and they laughed. Sometimes, I made them frightened especially when we had to face storms and monster like creatures in the sea. When I think back, I realize I was already planning to leave my comfort zone since young, to escape far far away. I brought all my desires into stories.
In my teenage years, I was starting to read extensively until adults started to think I was going to harm my sight. When the electricity went out, I lit the candle to continue reading. I usually read what my mom read and she is the big fan of Khin Swe Oo and Khin Hnin Yu. The authors encouraged the youth to be smart and follow their heart. The characters are young, intelligent and do not usually follow the norm. They wear old clothes, talk fast, read a lot, nerdy and take part in a cause. They are also always having problem with society as they are too opinionated and not afraid to talk their mind out. They are politically motivated, always trying to help the public and are not materialistic. In a way, they are stubborn and black sheep of the family. May be I was kind of captivated by their way of thinking. Until now, I don’t think I focus a lot on materials and fame. I have been always simple, down to earth and usually think what I wear is not important. There are times; a lot of people are doubtful whether I am really a doctor or not because of the way I dress. It is not unusual for me to wear old shirt and shorts wondering around the beach. I don’t give a fuck what people think and I am not in a mood to impress others forever.
Then I started to write literally on paper only when I was in my teenage years. It was my diary where I threw up my emotions into words. Then I turned to pen palling to express myself. Our universities closed because of massive strike by students. During that recess, I contacted various pen pals from different countries and started to write each other. It was liberating and I found out I enjoyed it a lot. Like Earnest Hemmingway said if you really want to be a writer, you must write regardless of your mood. I don’t agree with him. We can write endlessly, but the quality of our product is varied depending on our mood. Sometimes, I am just too depressed to do anything. I can lie all day being miserable . Sometimes, I just want to sit at beach and look at the birds and tides. Although I keep on thinking a lot. I can be even melancholic and pessimistic. So I basically don’t write anything these days. There are times, I feel motivated to write, get up suddenly from bed and sit at table for hours just because I feel so compelled to write. For example, I wrote about Myanmar’s election only a few months after the event. I cried while writing the article because emotions overwhelmed me. That kind of thing can happen to me even when I was in exam. I attended Burmese classes with a retired professor. He was a dedicated teacher and passionate about language . He tutored me as a single student. I picked up a lot of narrative style from him. During my exam, I was supposed to write about a girl who was from a poor family, but pretended as if she was from a rich family and treated her own mother as a servant in front of her rich friends. I remember I was crying while I was writing the narrative during exam as I was absorbed so much into the story. I literally sobbed in the exam room not because I couldn’t answer the paper, but because my author mood was turned on. And I passed my exam with distinctions in both English and Burmese, while I didn’t get high score in biology. Still, I became a doctor.
During my high school, I also wrote lots of erotic stories. We usually wrote stories in small piece of paper and distributed among girls only. It was found out by teachers and we were punished and scolded. One of the teachers asked “ do you want to be sluts?”. Gosh, we were just exploring. I still don’t understand why they thought it as a sin. One time, I told my friends, may be I want to try writing erotic stories because they are exciting. Human sexuality is so fluid and it is mind blowing. I told my friend, sex is not all about physical and you can play along with your brain. I like the feelings of my cheeks flushed, my mouth dry and my heart starts to palpate on reading or writing erotic stories. I just love it. I think pornography is never satisfying as it is too gross, but when sexuality comes in romance, it is just perfect. Lately, I have been following a girl’s blog named “ Autumn’s inner thoughts” where she writes about her real experience with dating . She does not reveal herself like me so it is so much easier for her to be brutally honest about her feelings. When I read her blog, I can see her and feel her. She is exposed, vulnerable, hopeful and hurt. It is mind blowing and it is beautiful.
As I write my blog with my real name, it is not so easy for me to write about my dating experiences. One day, I told my close friend how I wish I can write about myself. She quickly called me and said “ Hnin, can I come to your house to listen to your stories?”. I said “ why not?” and we had a cup of tea at dining table and I just hope she had a good time, listening to my stories. Haha.
In 2014, I started this travel story blog just because I was so happy after a wonderful trip. My aim was to record our memory so that I would remember it when I get older. One day, I want to read them back and smile “ ooh, my life is not bad”. And I didn’t have many followers and only 81 people came and read my blog in 2014 where I wrote two articles. Then the number kept escalating and in 2017, I have 1800 plus visitors from 50 different countries including Bulgaria and Russia. I had to mention these countries as it shows that they searched my article from google and they cannot be from my circle of friends.
As an amateur writer, I am not thinking that I will be successful,( hmm! sometimes, I hear very little voice telling me I will be, lol). But if one asks me why are you writing Hnin, I can just say that it is because I am happy doing it.
But these are the facts I am clear about myself
- I am not someone who can be an inspirational writer because I myself can be down sometimes. Some of my friends said they are motivated after reading my posts regarding mental health, but I cannot guarantee that can happen persistently.
- I can be creative only if I am honest with myself.
- I cannot pretend I am a role model of society. May be if you avoid things which I randomly do, you might become one for your society. Haha. And please don’t confuse my career with my personality. I am an awesome doctor ( like my cousins always said ), but I am not an orthodox, I have a tatoo and I can go nuts outside the hospital.
- I will never write just for money.
- I cannot create characters that are overtly good as that will never reflect me.
- I appreciate readers who really read my blog. I am telling this because sometimes I have been followed by some authors just because they want me to follow them in return, in this way, they can have more page view. I find this very disturbing. I am always exhilarated when I get comment from experienced authors. They make my day.
- I will continue writing despite the number of people who read the blog.
Last but not least, I am happy that I can cling to writing when other things fall apart in my life.
PS: below is my favorite writing quote.